Rockets hope to have fun, then maybe make a run

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Webb’s 71 among low scorers from regionals

By Josh Cook

Shelby County girls’ golf coach Anna Simpson has one major goal for her team at this weekend’s State Tournament.

Nope, it’s not a state championship, although she’d gladly take that too.

Simpson’s objective for her squad today and tomorrow at the Bowling Green Country Club is a lot simpler than that. 

“Just go down and have fun, because they all play better when they’re having fun,” said Simpson, whose team is making its fourth consecutive trip to State.

The Rockets would like to better their seventh-place finish of last year, when they finished 35 shots behind winner Green County and 22 behind second-place Sacred Heart.

“We had trouble with the rough and the greens,” said Simpson, whose team tees off at 1:15 p.m. today. “The greens were extremely fast, and the undulation in the greens [there] makes them very difficult. Just the slightest miss and you’re going to have a three-putt, or maybe a four-putt, instead of a two-putt.”

“[And] you have to keep it out of the rough down there. The Bermuda [grass] is so thick you can watch the ball land, then not even find it.”  

With the way it has been playing lately Shelby certainly could find itself among the contenders at State. The Rockets, who finished seven shots behind No. 1-ranked Sacred Heart at the Region 5 Tournament, tied for the second-lowest team score (with Williamsburg) among all the 22 qualifying squads (11 region winners and runners-up).

“Sacred Heart is the front-runner going in to it, but we’ve beat them twice this season, even though they didn’t have their whole team either time,” Simpson said. “But after finishing within seven strokes of them at regional, we felt like we left a lot of shots out there, and I’m sure they did too, but hopefully we can use that as motivation.”  

Defending state champ Green County, as well as Williamsburg and Glasgow, should be among the top contenders. Glasgow tied for third last year, and Williamsburg finished sixth – nine shots in front of the Rockets, who went in with state championship expectations.

“Top three would be realistic,” Simpson said. “But I don’t want to paint a target on their back like they kind of had last year.”

Simpson does have a goal, though, for sophomore Jordan Webb, who won last week’s Region 5 meet with a 1-under-par 71 at the Henry County Country Club.

“I’d like to see her in the Top 10,” Simpson said. “That would be huge for her because I know she wants to play golf in college, and finishing in the Top 10 as a sophomore would catch a lot of college attention.”

Webb’s 71 at region was matched only by Caldwell County senior Emma Talley and North Hardin junior Lydia Gumm across the state. Talley is the defending state champ, and Gumm finished third last year.

Also competing for the Rockets will be senior Shannon Harover, freshman Madison Thomas, seventh-grader Lilly Young and eighth-grader Tiffany Grasch. Grasch will be the first to tee off at 1:15 p.m. today. Young will follow at 1:24 p.m., Harover at 1:33 p.m., Thomas at 1:42 p.m and Webb at 1:51 for Shelby, which will be playing with Sacred Heart and Williamsburg.

Thomas tied for seventh place at the region tourney. She also had the team’s second-low score (a 13-over 85) in the first round of State last year as an eighth-grader. 

“Madison’s just got to stay focused and not get down on herself when she doesn’t hit a good shot,” Simpson said.

Meanwhile Young will see all her shots at State count toward the Rockets’ team score for the first time after being Shelby’s No. 5 player each of the last two years.

“She’s really come on this year,” Simpson said of Young. “It’s going to be scary to see what she’s like when she’s a senior.”

This will be the first trip to State for Grasch, who has dropped 30 strokes off her game this season and likely will be vital to the Rockets making some return trips.

“It’s going to be a good experience for Tiffany,” Simpson said. “She’ll have a key role in our success in the future of our golf program.”

But first comes the present for Shelby County, the State Tournament, where Simpson hopes her team will have fun, stay out of the rough, walk off yardages and take multiple looks at putts on the greens that she said are as fast as glass.

“If they can keep that up, like they have the past couple tournaments, they’ll do very well in Bowling Green,” she said.

Girls golf preview

ALL-STATE POINTS STANDINGS (Top 10 in final standings earn All-State honors) through Oct. 4:1. Lydia Gumm (North Hardin) 107; 2. Megan Wilshire (Scott County) 60.5; 3. Becky Sharpe (Williamsburg) 59.5; 4. Jordan Webb (Shelby County) 57.5;5. Katie Page (Sacred Heart) 57; 6. Anna Hack (Lone Oak) 56.5; 7. Meghan Theiss (Oldham County) 49.5; 8. Jackie VanMeter (South Warren) 46.5; 9. Sarah Kellam (Grant County) 45.83; 10. Emma Talley (Caldwell County) 44.5.

TOP INDIVIDUAL SCORES AT REGION:1 (tie). Webb,Gumm, Talley 71; 4 (tie). Hack, Sharpe 72; 6 (tie). VanMeter, Chau Tran (Mercy) 75; 8 (tie). Page, Theiss, Bailey Tyree (Marshall County), Sarah Kellam (Grant County), Madison Sawyer (East Jessamine), Bethany Jervis (Williamsburg), Elsa Moberly (Pulaski County) 76.

TOP 10 TEAMS SCORES AT REGION:1. Sacred Heart (Region 5 winner) 317; 2 (tie). Shelby County (Region 5 runner-up),Williamsburg (Region 9 winner) 324; 4. Owensboro Catholic (Region 2 winner) 331; 5. Henderson County (Region 2 runner-up) 333; 6. Green County (Region 4 winner) 334; 7 (tie). Glasgow (Region 4 runner-up), Notre Dame (Region 6 winner) 337; 9. Calloway County (Region 1 winner) 341; 10. Russell County (Region 9 runner-up) 342.